The simultaneous ratification of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Parliament by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the European Parliament on 16 September 2014 has become one of the key achievements of the parliamentary dialogue after the Revolution of Dignity.
Article 467 of the Association Agreement envisages that Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC), that replaced Ukraine-EU Parliamentary Cooperation Committee established according to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, is a forum for members of Ukrainian and European Parliaments to meet and exchange views. According to the provisions of the Association Agreement, the Committee may request relevant information regarding the implementation of the AA from the Association Council, which shall also inform the Committee about its decisions and recommendations. The PCA may also make recommendations to the Association Council.
The Parliamentary Association Committee are chaired in turn by a representative of the European Parliament and a representative of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine respectively.
The first meeting of EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee was held in Brussels on 24-25 February 2015. This meeting was jointly inaugurated by Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Mr. Volodymyr Groysman and President of the European Parliament Mr. Martin Schulz.
To consolidate greater unity among the political forces of the European Parliament on support of Ukraine, to generate new ideas and help them being effectively implemented, on 10 December 2014 upon an initiative of Member of the European Parliament Petras Auštrevičius (ALDE) an informal group of Friends of European Ukraine was established. The Group conducts its work complementing the regular activities within the Parliamentary Association Committee.
The multilateral component of the parliamentary dialogue with the European Parliament and parliaments of the Eastern Partnership countries (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, and Moldova) develops within the Parliamentary Assembly EuroNest (PA EuroNest). The constituent meeting of the PA EuroNest was held on 3 May 2011 in Brussels.
The European Parliament and developments in Ukraine
The Ukrainian issue remains among the top priorities on the agenda of the European Parliament.
The European Parliament of the 8th convocation (2014-2019), as an EU institution directly elected by its citizens, has been active and consistent in supporting Ukraine, its European aspirations and measures to counter the ongoing Russian aggression against our country. Ukraine has received strong and sustained support from the leadership and the majority of the MEP, from all the major and pro-European political forces of Parliament.
On May 17, 2017, a ceremony signing of the decision on introduction of a visa-free regime with the EU for Ukrainian citizens was held in the European Parliament.
Since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, these issues have been permanently on the EP’s agenda. A considerable number of resolutions were devoted to these topics, and there were regular debates during plenary sessions and meetings of the EP working bodies. The EP clearly condemned in its resolutions the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and its devastating actions on the territory of the peninsula, acknowledged the facts of Russia's ongoing aggression against Ukraine, reiterated its firm commitment to supporting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. EP has always been consistent in the compliance with the non recognition policy and sanctions against Russian Federation until full restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The European Parliament paid particular attention to the issues of the release of Ukrainian political prisoners illegally held in Russia, as well as to the systematic violation of human rights in occupied Crimea, in particular the rights of Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians. In recent years, several special resolutions have been adopted which recognized the illegal nature and political motivation of Russian authorities' actions against Ukrainian citizens being kept in the Russian Federation and urged them to be released immediately, condemned systematic violations of the rights of Crimean Tatars, demanded from Russian Federation to cancel its decision banning the activities of Medzhlis.
The leadership of the EP, its deputy groups and working bodies, as well as individual MEPs have regularly issued statements and comments supporting Ukraine, in particular in the context of the ongoing Russian aggression against our country and on the broad agenda of Ukraine’s relations with the EU. MEPs held public events, including those in the context of international efforts to release Ukrainian political prisoners in the Russian Federation and in the temporarily occupied territories, as well as social and humanitarian events, such as the collection of humanitarian aid for internally displaced persons in Ukraine.
In its resolutions, the European Parliament has repeatedly expressed support for Ukraine's European perspective in accordance with Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, as well as the introduction of a visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens.
Over the last five years, the European Parliament has adopted about 25 legislative acts, resolutions and reports directly devoted to Ukraine. In general, Ukraine has been mentioned in nearly 120 EP decisions.
These figures do not include regular plenary debates, including those held at the plenary session in March 2019 (dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the illegal occupation of Crimea), numerous decisions and thematic meetings of parliamentary committees and delegations, meetings during the visits to the EP of Ukrainian delegations. In 2018, there were around 30 formal meetings of the EP committees related to Ukrainian issues and about 30 public events and actions dedicated to Ukraine.
The informal Group in the EP "Friends of European Ukraine", which included about 50 MEPs, was relaunched in the 9th convocation of the EP.
In November 26, 2019, the European Parliament presented its highest award - the Sakharov’s Freedom of Thought Award to the Ukrainian director, Kremlin’s political prisoner, Oleg Sentsov. By awarding Oleg Sentsov the EP has recognized his struggle with Putin’s regime for human dignity, freedom of expression and the rule of law as an example to be followed worldwide.
The European Parliament has clearly recognized and repeatedly emphasized Ukraine's inevitable right to apply for EU membership. It has also supported the idea of deepening sectoral integration with the EU's associate partners in the Eastern Partnership + format, and agreed with the initiatives of the President of Ukraine on the gradual integration of our country into the EU Energy Union, Digital Market, Customs Union and joining Schengen Zone.
Over the last five years, the EP has formed a solid political safeguard against speculation regarding possible weakening of EU sanctions against Russia or the normalization of relations with Moscow. By number of resolutions, the EP not only supported the current EU sanctions regime against Russia, but also called for its strengthening, including the approval on EU level the so-called "Magnitsky List" against the Kremlin officials and Russian oligarchs aligned to it.
The European Parliament has become one of the first international institutions that draw attention to Russia's escalation of the conflict in the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait at the end of 2018, adopting a relevant resolution condemning Russia's aggressive actions.
The EP has consistently maintained international attention to the situation with the Kremlin’s political prisoners. In their resolutions, MEPs mentioned the name of every one out of the nearly 70 Ukrainian prisoners kept in Russia and the occupied Crimea. Not a single criminal prosecution being held by Russia against Ukrainian citizens has been left without any attention of the EP.